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Pro-Con: Swaddling for Newborns
The practice of swaddling has been used for thousands of years and was popular until the 1700s, when it was slowly abandoned by many cultures that considered it old-fashioned or barbaric.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 1)
It doesn't matter if you come to my practice for pain relief, weight loss, healthy aging or something else. The formula I talk about for each patient's fitness strategy is pretty much the same.
Your Billing Questions Answered
I hear a lot of the following questions: I am afraid I may doing something illegal. I have heard I cannot have different fees for the same service.
It's Time to Review
It is amazing to see the changes that are occurring in the acupuncture profession. Let's look at some of the news and events that have contributed to this growth and awareness.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 2
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
Tailor-Made Knee Pain: The Sartorius Muscle
A patient was referred to my office after receiving treatment from various providers with no results. The patient was training for the Olympics as a marathon runner and was unable to run or walk without severe medial knee pain.
Syncretism: Acupuncture and Public Health in Cuba
"Syncretism" is defined as a union of diverse tenets or practices. On a recent trip to Cuba designed to demonstrate the integration of Traditional Medicine and biomedicine, our group witnessed this union firsthand.
The Concussion-Subluxation Complex
In the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I reviewed some of the literature demonstrating the role of the chiropractic adjustment in post-concussive care.
Mechanism: Experimental Approaches to Understanding Acupuncture, Part 1
The clinical benefits of acupuncture are difficult to ignore, but also can be difficult to explain to a Western audience. For nearly 50 years, relentlessly inquisitive scientists and physicians have been working toward a conceptual model to explain acupuncture.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Exercise and Nutrition According to Your Yin/Yang Body Type
There are countless new exercise and nutrition plans out there, emphasizing the latest ground-breaking research and claiming to revolutionize the way we view health.
The Modern Application of Ancient Mei Rong
Chinese Medical Cosmetology (Mei Rong) has a well-documented and venerated history dating back to the Qin (221-206 BC) Dynasty.
Dietary Fat and Prostate Cancer: An Important Update
K.M. Di Sebastiano and M. Mourtzakis published a review paper examining the role of dietary fat on prostate cancer development and progression late last year that does a stellar job of summarizing the available data on fat and prostate cancer.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the West
We know acupuncture and Oriental medicine as the indigenous medicine of East Asia; in particular China, Korea and Japan are the countries of origin of this wonderful healing system.
Omega-3 Fish Oil: An Underappreciated Element of Men's Health
As a clinician with many male patients -- and as a man myself -- I am all too aware of the fact that we like to convince ourselves that we are doing great, when that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
Which Way is the Energy Going? Are You Burning Yourself Out?
One of the simple methods that I use to define Yin/Yang theory to patients is to ask the question, "Which way is your energy going?"
Footsteps of the Sages: An Apprenticeship with Dr. Kezhan Zhang
When I met Dr. Kezhen Zhang in May 2013, I was his translator and the integrity, creativity, and passion he demonstrated as a practitioner and advocate of the medicine convinced me to travel to Beijing to study with him.
North Carolina Acupuncture Board Files Dry Needling Lawsuit
In early September, the NCALB filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners over the issue of dry needling, a form of acupuncture that uses solid needles to puncture the skin and muscle tissue to relieve pain.
Too Many to Remember: Tips to Revive Your Ortho / Neuro Test Skills
When I was at Palmer in the mid-1980s, we were given a set of notes in one of our diagnostic courses. The notes covered approximately 70 orthopedic and neurological tests for various regions of the body.
Diagnose Sprain Injuries in MVA Cases With Dynamic X-Rays (Pt. 1)
Am I the only person to notice hospitals are doing a seemingly insufficient job lately in their initial radiological workup of motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims?
Born to Energize the Human Spirit: Recollections of Sig Miller
Sig Miller, longtime executive director of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), passed away on Sept. 17 after a long battle with cancer.
F4CP Making a High-Impact Impression
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released details of its 2016 strategy, certain elements of which are already in play. The strategy includes ads, posters and other resources available to all F4CP members.
Making Sense of an Increasingly Obvious Conclusion
Where's U.S. health care heading? Like it or not, the list of telltale signs is growing to a point that stands out to even the most myopic observer. Consider this list of facts as you look into the future of health care in the United States:
Chinese Herbs and Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Case Study
"Mary M."* recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Even the former sheriff dropped by to kiss the hand of this diminutive retired teacher, to honor the years she interpreted for him during interviews with Latinas and Latinos.
Targeting the Bad Apples in the Bunch
While everyone was focused on the conversion to ICD-10, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a new report on chiropractic titled "CMS Should Use Targeted Tactics to Curb Questionable and Inappropriate Payments for Chiropractic Services."
June, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 06
Time to Get Creative
By Jenn Sommermann, LCMT
Currently, there are two factors happening simultaneously that can greatly affect your massage therapy practice. Both are equally important. No article would be complete without talking about the economy.An educated, savvy clientele can also impact the bottom-line. I believe these two factors, the economy and a more educated clientele, are the key factors affecting the practice of every massage therapist. Now is the time to dig deep, think outside the box and be more creative in the ways you approach marketing, client retention and referral programs.
If you read my last article, "Make Your Client's Experience Memorable" (April 2009 issue), you learned that positioning yourself on the side of health care versus personal care, makes you less likely to suffer in this economic down turn. Clients are forgoing some personal care services in effort to save money or redirect spending. But amazingly, health care has not suffered as much. If your massage services are considered health care, chances are you are managing these troubled times and will come out on the other side in good shape. This is all about educating the client and it starts with you.
The general population is also learning more about massage services and complementary health care, in general. They are more educated about the benefits of massage therapy, more discerning and seeking massage more frequently and in higher numbers. In fact, according to the American Massage Therapy Association's 2009 Industry Fact Sheet, 24 percent of American adults received a massage in the last 12 months. They just plain know more. You need to approach them in ways that speak to them; address what they want and need and entice them to use your services.
I believe these two factors, the economy and a more educated clientele, have forced the need for you to go beyond what you are currently doing. Gone are the days when you can rest on your reputation to keep new business coming in. Today you must be creative, passionate and vigilant in the way you pursue new business, keep your existing business coming back for more, and obtain referrals. This can be broken into three categories: marketing - bringing in the new clients; client retention - keeping the clients you have; and referral programs - obtaining new clients from the existing ones.
What creative ways are you marketing your services? Are you marketing health care or personal care? Too often I see massage therapists rely on printed marketing materials to gain new clients. In today's world, printed materials are not as effective, as the marketing platform is already saturated. What "out-of-the-box" method can you use to drum up new business? This past Valentine's Day, I went to my local florist and gave her six complimentary half hour gift certificates (with the ability to upgrade to an hour for an additional $45). I asked her to put the gift certificates in the floral arrangements of her five "high-end" customers, within a geographic area that I prescribed and keep one gift certificate for herself. She loved the idea. It made her arrangements more desirable and special and it got my name out to folks in a very personal way. Nothing beats a personal referral and the florist's recommendation was "golden."
What percentage of your client's reschedule? If you don't know, it is a statistic you should start keeping track of. Shooting for 100 percent is great but probably unrealistic. If you want a full practice, shooting for 85 percent is a good goal. What do you do to keep them coming back? What makes them feel special? Do you ask them to reschedule or at least plant the seed that massage has cumulative benefits? I always do a 24-hour follow-up call with new clients. I tell the client that I will be contacting them the next day. I call to see how they responded to the treatment, how they slept and gather any other information that can help me adjust my treatment next time accordingly. This implies that there will be a next time. The seed is planted. It also means the hour session lasts longer, because I am thinking about them long after the time is up and the payment has been made. The clients get more value for their fee. More value equals happier clients, especially in today's economy. Happier clients mean higher retention.
So now you have new clients coming in and you are keeping them in your practice. You're half way there. What creative method can you use to entice those happy clients to bring in more business? How can you get them to consistently refer? The single best thing I do to get referrals is to turn down tips. YEP ... turn away money. I say, "Thank you so much but the best tip you can give me is the referral of your family and friends." Everyone wins here. Do the math. Would you rather have the $10 now or the $75 from a new client?
If you are struggling with your practice or if you need a jump-start towards more clients, be resourceful. Talk to successful colleagues and find out what they do to boost business. Times are tough and folks are smarter about massage. In order to keep up with these trends, you need to think outside the box. Now is the time to get creative.
Click here for previous articles by Jenn Sommermann, LCMT.
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